This was a bummer week for movie nerds: the acclaimed Pitchfork spinoff site about movies—The Dissolve—has closed its Internet doors. The website’s Editorial Director, Keith Phipps, wrote a very brief bon voyage on Wednesday, citing that various “challenges” prevent them from going forward. What a fucking bummer, dude.
The site was around for two years and, about a year and a half of Pitchfork pushing this “movie” site on me, I succumbed and I found a deep love for their work. They replaced what I had been looking for in film writing since the very deep (personal) loss of Roger Ebert. They were always searching to share and assess and reassess what good film is. They were smart and funny and did their job well: The Dissolve will be missed.
But let this be a lesson to you, music sites like Pitchfork: your audience doesn’t warm up to movie sites. The crossover is there, sure, but people silo their interests into different worlds that don’t usually comingle with other arts. Let me show you something from Internet history, which I am sure has been rubbed in your face already: you know Stereogum? They launched Videogum in 2008 and it felt infallible until they closed their doors early last year.
That was a blow. They felt so strong and valuable to commenting on videos of all sorts but, of course, that Stereogum audience never clicked with the Videogum audience and—for whatever reason—it didn’t keep going. You could feel in the end that things were dissipating but you didn’t think they would kill themselves. Unfortunately for The Dissolve, there was no end in sight: it just happened.
This is a sad week for Internet writing and movie writing. As someone who has killed an Internet website baby before, I know it is tough. It fucking sucks. You work so hard, you make a cubby hole online, and then you have to euthanize it because the baby can’t slowly die: she just has to go away, quickly and painlessly. Then you move on, as the maker and as the love and as the audience.
So, you music sites out there: stick with music. Don’t venture into movies. Don’t put us movie people through it again. RIP, The Dissolve.